A lot of people would think that flying to Dalaman, as a solo traveller was an odd choice; as it is is often the choice for couples or families for a holiday in the sun.
However, when I travel, I tend to like a good mix in a country, so decided to spend some time by the beach and pool (Fethiye), some days in a city (Istanbul), and then the middle of the country for something a bit different (Cappadocia).
So when I arrived into Dalaman airport, after a super early flight, from London. Everyone from my flight gravitated towards the holiday rep booths outside the airport, and were directed to big coaches, were they were transported to their hotels, for their all inclusive of half board holidays, with all the other tourists (I don’t have a problem with this, by the way – I’ve done a package holiday to Greece in the past).
As with a lot of my travelling, I rarely plan anything, but knowing that Dalaman Airport was about an hour away from where I needed to be, I looked up transfer methods, outside of the standard holiday rep companies. I discovered that there was a local shuttle bus company called Havas, and that it ran frequent between the airport, and Fethiye and Marmaris. The last quoted price, on another blog was 7.50 Lira (£1.80 or US $2.80). Sweet I thought, that’ll do, and I can easily get off at Calis Beach and walk to my hotel.
Things didn’t work out quite like that. In the end, I got stuck at the airport for nearly 2 hours
I got off the plane and outside fairly quickly, as I only have hand luggage with me on this trip. I asked a friendly airport staff member about where I could get the Havas bus, and he directed me outside to a covered walkway.
There I saw about 20 booths for the holiday rep companies and a taxi stand. I later spotted a large column, with a sign saying “Havas to Marmaris and Fethiye”. So I sat myself down, slapped on some sunscreen, and waited.
The timetable I found online (which may be outdated) said there was a bus at 12.15. It was 12pm already. I was tired, but knew my plan for the day was to sit by the pool, swim and eat good food.
12.30 came, and no bus, so I grabbed a holiday rep, who told me that there was no real timetable, the bus comes whenever, could be 20 minutes, could be an hour. I was later told that the bus times have changed to fit in with the domestic flights (which makes sense), as local people will be using the domestic terminal.
So I found a shady spot, where a bunch of taxi drivers were. They tried to tell me that the Havas wasn’t working today and that I should pay them 140 lira (£33 US $52) – not a chance I thought.
So I sat and waited, and
chatted harmlessly flirted with the taxi drivers, hoping they’d do me a better deal, but the best they gave me was 100 Lira (still too expensive).
Every now and again, some of the locals “updated” me and said it was coming in 20 minutes.
I almost jumped into a taxi with another two expats who had been waiting on the Havas also; we would have paid 50 Lira each; not bad I guess.
However, at 1.45pm, the Havas arrived. I jumped on, and paid the 10 Lira (£2.30 or US $3.75), and promptly fell asleep for the 50 minute journey, only to wake up right where I needed to be at Calis beach. However, the driver did not let me off, as I hadn’t informed him beforehand.
So was transported a further 5km to Fethiye Otokar (bus station), where I could either wait 10 minutes for the next Dolmus (local mini bus), or pay for a taxi … I gave in to a taxi, as I was exhausted (budget traveller fail), and paid 25 Lira to get there. So it was a semi successful, and cheap transfer from the airport, but it took a long time.
If you have more money than time, but don’t want to pay expensive prices for taxi’s. Consider taking a shuttle with Vostok Tourism, a super friendly and organised company, that I have already planned activities with for my time here.
When I finally got to my hotel, I sat by the pool for a few hours, and relaxed.
My Turkish adventures were planned from the next day onwards.
Have you travelled to a typical resort destination as a solo traveller, or got stuck at an airport? Stuff like this happens to me all the time, but it never makes me any better organised.